85% of CVs go in the bin without ever being read. When a recruiter is reviewing your CV, they will have a ‘yes’ pile and a ‘no’ pile. It is likely that they will have decided which pile to put your CV in before they reach the end of the first page. Worse still, the key purpose of a covering letter is to get your CV read and to get you an interview; therefore it has to be even better than the first page of your CV!

The purpose of this issue of the Inspirational Toolkit is to make sure that your CV goes on the ‘yes’ pile. However, there are no right or wrongs when it comes to writing a CV as each one will be as individual as the person writing it. Your CV should be your own and reflect your talents, achievements and personality.

    1. Before starting to write your CV you need to take time to properly prepare. Make a note of all your qualifications along with all the jobs you have had and any additional training you have acquired; list all your achievements as well as all the things you are good at, both at work and personal; and write down all your hobbies and interests. Take time to consider your career objectives, i.e. what do you want to do with your career.
    2. Some more obvious points:
      • Your CV and motivation letter should be typed on quality paper.
      • Your CV should ideally be no more than two pages long and definitely no more than three.
      • Make sure that your CV is well laid out with clear headings and enough white space to make it easy to read.
      • Try not to use the words “responsible for…”
      • Check thoroughly for spelling and grammar errors – better still, get someone else to do this for you.
      • Do not use abbreviations which the reader may not understand, doing so will put your CV straight in the ‘no’ pile.
      • Do not lie on your CV or motivation letter, you will be found out!
    3. Begin your CV with a strong profile that grabs the reader’s attention and encourages them to read on and find out more about you. The profile should come after your name and contact details and is a brief statement containing your career highlights and what makes you a perfect match for the job. Just be sure to tailor it to the organisation and job you are applying for in order to show that you understand the scope of work for the job.
    4. When detailing your work history (with the most recent first), be sure to provide details of your achievements in the job along with the roles and responsibilities of the position.
    5. Make your academic and employment history sound more interesting by relating it to the employer’s needs rather than just stating what you did and be sure to express any achievements in terms of awards, money, percentages, time etc.
    6. Your cover/motivation letter should be no more than a page in length. It should contain a brief introduction, a short description of your education, skills and achievements; a motivation on why you are the best candidate for the job and in closing, state your contact information and be sure to ask for a meeting. Do not include anything in your covering letter that would give the reader an excuse to put your CV in the ‘no’ pile.
    7. Always, always, re-write your CV and motivation letter every time you apply for a job in order to ensure that it is tailor made to meet the requirements of the specific organisation and job you are applying for.

Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.

Aristotle